ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

November 16, 1998

1998.11.16: Rescheduling Tomorrow Night’s EC

Filed under: Affirmative Action,Union Democracy and Structure — nyclaw01 @ 1:40 pm

From: <MLetwin>
Sent: Monday, November 16, 1998 7:15 PM
Subject: Rescheduling Tomorrow Night’s EC

To:        ALAA Executive Committee
Fr:        Michael Letwin
Re:        Rescheduling Tomorrow Night’s Executive Committee Meeting
Da:        November 16, 1998

After polling the Bargaining/Advisory Committee, I have decided to substitute a BC meeting for the Executive Committee originally scheduled for tomorrow night.  As in numerous other situations where events made it advisable to rearrange the order of BC and EC meetings, the EC will convene as soon thereafter as possible.  In this case, rescheduling permits the BC (Union officers, plus issue and caucus representatives), the citywide Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid (ACLA), and any other group of interested members, the opportunity to consider the current posture — procedural and substantive — of our affirmative action efforts, particularly in light of the very serious allegations contained in Civil/CAB grievances filed late last week.

Please be assured that my decision to reschedule this EC does not reflect any lack of urgency about the need to improve the Society’s record.  After many years of actively fighting for greater affirmative action at Legal Aid, I personally negotiated the far-reaching language now contained in the contract.

I have spent much of the past year seeking to activate the Joint Union- Management Affirmative Action Committee that is charged with overseeing the Society’s efforts, and helping to reactivate ACLA.  Immediately upon learning last week of the Civil/CAB grievances, I conveyed to representatives of those divisions’ affirmative action committees my request to meet as soon as possible with attorneys of color and other concerned members; this morning, I reiterated that request.  Experience shows, however, that we achieve the greatest success in pursuing affirmative action (like any other issue) by promoting informed, productive and (hopefully) unified EC discussion and decision-making.  This purpose alone underlies the brief postponement of tomorrow night’s EC.

The date and agenda for the EC will follow by mid-week.  Meanwhile, please forgive any confusion due to this necessary schedule modification.

November 13, 1998

1998.11.13: Affirmative Action (Azalia Torres)

Filed under: Affirmative Action,Union Democracy and Structure — nyclaw01 @ 12:00 am

From:     Azalia Torres
To:     Everyone At The Legal Aid Society Everyone At The …
Date:     Fri, Nov 13, 1998 18 6:03 pm
Subject:     Affirmative Action

The purpose of our the E-mail sent out in response to the letter from the folks at Civil and PRP was to clarify. I have received many phone calls and e-mails from other folks within LAS commenting on this grievance and the process.  They all assumed that it was filed by the ACLA society-wide.

It was not to in any way to suggest that any individual within our union could not grieve any issue which is of concern to them.  I have always applauded the efforts of the Civil Division and Volunteers Division in the area of affirmative action.  I have always maintained that we must draw lessons from those efforts in forging a society-wide campaign for the enforcement of our contract provisions regarding affirmative action.

We must do this together.  No one division can speak for the needs of the others.  That is why I have also supported our pariticipation in the joint management-ALAA affirmative action committee.  It is important that we select our representatives to that committee and move forward to insure that our needs in this area are met.

This has been agreed upon in ACLA with representatives from Civil, CAB, PRP, CDD, JRD, Volunteer.

I support the bringing of grievances to address this and any other problems we face as attorneys at LAS.  Moreover, we have set up structures to insure that our voice is broadly representative and strong as a result.  If we come to decisions in these structures, then as a democratic union we should adhere to them even if they are not carried out in the particular form we personally would like or within the time frame we would prefer.  That’s the down side of democracy.  It doesn’t always run as smoothly or as quickly as many of us would like.

Civil/PRP have every right to bring this and any other grievance as a unit.  In the spirit of unity and respect for the efforts of so many others, I stress the importance of discussion with all of us who are just as concerned and who have demonstrated it in our practice in the many years here at LAS.

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